First day of vacation

Today was the first day of my THREE week vacation. (Can you tell I’m really excited about having an extended break?) I haven’t yet unplugged — from anything — but it was a fun, relaxed, productive day just the same.

The day started sunny and cold. The cold was expected; the sun was a pleasant surprise. After scraping the ice off my car, Jay and I were up and out early. The Whidbey Island Kennel Club is holding a two-day show at the fairgrounds in Monroe this weekend. I wanted to watch obedience, particularly Utility, and I knew that was a morning thing, so we tried to get going as soon as possible.

I love the fairgrounds, but I was flummoxed by the parking. Instead of parking in the exterior lots, we were allowed to drive in and park around the buildings. That’s great if you’re showing, of course, and it’s nice if you’re a spectator *IF* you know where the open spaces are. Getting parked was disorganized (though I did finally run into a helpful attendant), and I accidentally ended up parking as far from obedience as possible. Sigh.

It turned out not to be such a bad thing, though. They had a comfy shuttle bus driving laps around the venue, so we didn’t have to trek over. That was good because we didn’t get to the obedience rings until close to 10:00. I was afraid I’d missed all the Utility classes because they show first, but this show had a lot of entries. There were 20+ entries in Utility B alone! We actually found a couple of chairs and settled in ringside to watch the last 7 or 8 people in the class.

So. Much. Fun. I enjoyed all the performances (even — or maybe especially — the NQs), but it was really nice to see the nontraditional breeds. There was a Bernese Mountain Dog who was an absolute HOOT. He didn’t qualify, but he was UP and happy. We also enjoyed a Siberian in the Novice ring nearby. Every time his handler changed speed at heel or turned when he wasn’t expecting it, he woooo’d at her. Hysterical! Of course, that NQ’d him too.

There have been times in the past where I’ve been less than impressed by the handlers — people who took it all too seriously and blamed the dogs for mistakes. I didn’t see that here. These were people with great attitudes, and the dogs’ attitudes were great too. I was also pleased to see how many of them ran to their crates afterwards for high-powered treats!

We stayed in the obedience building for about an hour and a half. I could have stayed all day, but I had told Jay that we would probably be done by lunch. It occurred to me as I sat there, that I was having so much more fun than I would have had in the conformation rings. Conformation just doesn’t do it for me!

We did the walk back toward the car on foot so we could check out all the buildings and, most importantly, the vendors. We visited with lots of dogs, chatted with friendly people, and spent a ton of money on dog toys and chewies. After we hit all the buildings and emptied our wallets, we left in search of lunch. (It occurred to me on the way that I’d compeltely forgotten about River’s lunch. Yikes! Bad parenting moment.) We did a salad bar and a personal pizza, and then ran errands — grocery, pellets for the wood stove, and gas for the generator. Got home, finally, at 2:30.

The next hour and a half was spent working outside, doing the last of the work we needed to do to get ready for winter. We put away hoses and extension cords, broke down the container garden and put away the plant-related things, cleaned off the front porch, got the generator set up, drained the baby pool, and moved the outdoor furntiture from the lawn to the back deck. All in all, it was a good afternoon’s work, though I’m muddy now, my shoes are wet, and my feet are icy. The dogs got a good run out in the front part of the property too.

We got all the winterizing done just in the nick of time. It’s 38 degrees right now — same temp it was at 8:30 this morning. Trace amounts of snow are predicted up here over the next couple of days, with snow levels down to sea level until Thursday. The mountain passes are getting decent amounts of snow, and at least one ski resort has already opened. It’s a La Nina year, which means we should be colder and wetter — read: snowier — than normal. We’ll be glad enough for the pellet stove and the generator.

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